How EY Leveraged its ESG Thought Leadership Position by Partnering with Oxford Analytica

EY, one of the largest professional services organizations, with operations in more than 150 countries with over 300,000 employees, has a mission to build a better working world. EY is dedicated to helping organizations solve their toughest challenges with multidisciplinary teams poised to bring strategic clarity and confidence to the clients they serve.

Today, environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives are top of mind for almost every organization. As such, EY offers services to help its customers understand the risks and opportunities arising from climate change and sustainability issues and devise strategies that deliver long-term value for their stakeholders.

Winning Partnership

To help stakeholders understand the current state and trajectory of sustainability reporting and related policy developments, EY partnered with Oxford Analytica’s Advisory Services in 2021 to produce a report on the future of sustainability reporting standards and how companies can prepare for the emerging requirements.

“The move to harmonize ESG reporting standards is one of the most significant developments in corporate reporting and accounting in decades,” says Katie Kummer, EY Global Deputy Vice Chair, Public Policy. “It underscores the important role the accounting profession — with its century of experience in measurement, disclosure, and assurance — will play in addressing the climate crisis as well as a broader set of sustainability issues. With nearly every major economy moving ahead with ESG mandates, it was critical for us to develop a piece that illuminated the state of play and timing as well as that provided practical guidance on how to approach sustainability reporting.”

A Collaborative Approach

It was a collaborative effort to ensure a well-rounded and highly researched report. Oxford Analytica’s in-house team drew on insights from its worldwide network of experts; interviews with thought leaders across the policymaking, business, and civil society sectors; and workshops with EY leaders and subject-matter professionals.

The team at Oxford Analytica has a real problem-solving mentality, which is why we knew we had to partner with them for this project. I was especially struck by how highly collaborative they were, and by the end, there was little distinction between their team and our team,” says Kyle Lawless, Associate Director, EY Global Public Policy. “Oxford Analytica served as a resource multiplier by helping us leverage our own internal subject matter experts while simultaneously tapping into their global network of experts,” says Lawless.

The Final Report

After 12 weeks, EY and Oxford Analytica published “The Future of Sustainability Reporting Standards,” a 32-page report intended to further position EY as the provider of choice when it comes to sustainability reporting.

The response to the report has been huge,” Kummer says. “To date, it’s been translated into Japanese and Korean, reissued in both of those markets, and highlighted in an op-ed for the World Economic Forum Agenda. The report helped us facilitate conversations with regulators and policy stakeholders, and added real value to the business with our client teams.”

As most government affairs professionals in the area can attest, government affairs teams are often looking to better connect their work with the business and prove their ROI. “Our goal always is to translate policy issues into business implications” explains Lawless. “With the publication of this report, we were able to connect it back to a major topic of interest for our clients and prove the value of our work internally.”

In addition to the report, Oxford Analytica led a webinar in July titled “ESG and Sustainability Reporting" with participation from Ruchi Bhowmik, EY Global Vice Chair, Public Policy; Robert Eccles, visiting professor of management practice at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; and Gerald Yao, FiscalNote’s Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder. In total, more than 450 registrants attended in over 60 countries.

Build a Winning ESG Strategy with Oxford Analytica

Oxford Analytica, part of FiscalNote, is the premier geopolitical analysis and advisory firm helping organizations worldwide anticipate the impact of political, economic, societal, and security risks. Global businesses, governments, and organizations trust Oxford Analytica to navigate complex markets where understanding the intersection of geopolitics is critical to their success.